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Official: Dart, Patriot, Compass

by Bill Cawthon on

FCA will stop building the Dodge Dart in September, while the Jeep Patriot and Compass will be dropped in December, according to a recent press release.

All three cars are made at the same plant in Belvidere, Illinois, which had previously built the Neon. Once the plant is finished with the 2017s, Jeep will start on its $350 million retooling, announced yesterday, for Jeep Cherokee production, adding about 300 new jobs. The Cherokee is leaving Toledo so the Wrangler can take its plant.

The Dart’s first 202 sales were made in June 2012.  Over the next four years (ending on June 30, 2016), just 221,628 Darts were sold. The Chevrolet Cruze, its closest competitor in size and price, sold more than twice as well as the Dart.

In January this year, FCA announced that it would stop producing the Dart and the Chrysler 200 in the U.S., and look to an outside source for cars in those segments. In May, Sergio Marchionne added, “I’ve been public about the fact that we’re looking for a way to share the architecture with others. Somebody else will make the 200.”

There has been no word on the fate of the Fiat Viaggio, essentially a Dodge Dart with a lower-cost suspension sold outside the U.S.

Today, FCA also announced that the Belvidere plant had reached bronze status in the World Class Manufacturing quality system.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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